my chewing gum body

by salma serry

My work is a response to you are here’s invitation to reconsider the body (in this case, my own) as a political sphere. However, being a fourth generation “temporary immigrant” from the Global South, residing in the oil-dependent Arab Gulf, the question of reconsidering my body brought to my attention another basic need which I realized I do not have: the privilege of being situated and considered in the first place. I took a look at my body as a space of conflict between the political and economic systems in the Arab Gulf — which exploit workers on “temporary” visas until their work is no longer desired — as well as a representation of an elastic and highly-adaptive yet “homeless” being. In the work presented here, using food and foodways as my area of studies and film/writing as my technique, I represent my body as chewing gum. My body is one of high elasticity and adaptability that has been made redundant by the system and “spat out,” only to be stretched between various points on the global map in search of validation, acknowledgement, and recognition. I end my presentation wondering whether sometimes, in order to resituate and reconsider, might one’s body need to be situated and considered first?

Salma Serry is an Egyptian-born filmmaker and interdisciplinary foodways researcher. She is currently pursuing graduate studies in Gastronomy at Boston University where she researches and writes about food and foodways from Southwest Asia and North Africa at the intersection of culture and history. Salma has previously taught mass communication courses at the American University of Sharjah after completing her Master of Arts degree in Television and Digital Journalism. Her works — including Saraab, Dinner 7665, and 6 on 18 — screened at Festival Du Cannes Short Film Corner, Internationale Kurzfilmwoche Regensburg, Abu Dhabi Film Festival, and Al Riwaq Art Space in Bahrain.